By Max Kingsley-Jones in London
Airbus is expected to provide details during this week's Farnborough air show of the background to the problems that have seriously delayed the A380 programme.
In an exclusive briefing in Toulouse last week, Andreas Fehring, who is responsible for the "industrialisation of the A380", gave Flight International a guided tour of one of the A380s undergoing modification to explain causes for the delay and outline the task the manufacturer is facing to get the programme back on track.
Fehring, vice-president A380 programme management, says problems have arisen through "a much greater number of changes than expected resulting from modifications to electrical systems and structure following feedback from bench-testing, flight-testing and customisation needs". He adds that the problem has been exacerbated by the A380's scale and complexity, and the ambitious development timetable that had Airbus "undertaking customisation and production ramp-up in parallel".
Although Airbus had built a contingency plan into the A380's ambitious development schedule, it was caught out by the high volume of changes required. "You can plan for a certain amount of unexpected issues, but we have simply eaten up our contingency," Fehring says.
■ An A380 development aircraft will fly to Abu Dhabi next week for hot-weather performance trials. It will participate in launch customer Etihad Airways' A340-500 introduction celebrations.
|Airbus is unravelling A380 problems|